Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Louvre Abu Dhabi Says Emirate 'Acquired' the Da Vinci Painting

Vinci's Louvre Abu Dhabi Says Emirate 'Acquired' the Da Vinci Painting
Patty Aguilar | 11 December, 2017, 11:42

The New York Times reported that the painting had been purchased by a Saudi prince called Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, a friend and associate of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, citing documents it reviewed.

As one of the seven sheikhdoms in the United Arab Emirates, and the one with the largest oil reserves, Abu Dhabi is entwined in a Saudi Arabian-led dispute with neighbouring Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism.

The art deals restored the painting and claimed it was the authentic work of Leonardo himself before it was exhibited across the world and sold at auction by Christie's.

The Salvator Mundi will go on display at Louvre Abu Dhabi alongside Leonardo's La Belle Ferronnière (around 1490), which is on loan from the Louvre in Paris.

Today, the Louvre Abu Dhabi revealed that it had actually acquire the work through Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism, though it is still unclear how the acquisition was made and what connection it has to Prince Mohammed.

A Saudi official denied MbS had purchased the artwork. The rare painting of Christ, which that sold for a record $450 million, is heading to a museum in Abu Dhabi. 1500, sold for $450.3 million at Christie's last month.

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The bidding for the painting, which lasted for 20 minutes, finally came to a close after an unidentified bidder offered the winning amount via telephone.

"We are delighted to see this remarkable painting will be available for public view at the Louvre Abu Dhabi".

The official added that the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism had subsequently asked Prince Badr to act "as an intermediary purchaser".

A spokeswoman for the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism confirmed the department had acquired the painting to be displayed at the Louvre, but declined to say whether it was bought by the Department.

Salvator Mundi, which depicts Jesus holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right in blessing, is one of some 16 known surviving works painted by da Vinci.

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